Energy: It is the “E” in PFEWG!

PFEWG™ How We Feel About “Energy”
The Cambridge Public School Department is committed to reducing its overall carbon footprint as a school district. Our aim is to reduce energy usage through the implementation of energy-savings projects, and by educating students and staff about energy efficiency practices. Other action items on our list include researching and implementing renewable energy projects, and analyzing our district’s energy data order to make best-practice and project-priority decisions.

solar_panel.jpgThe strategy, which is currently underway, is to assess current energy usage on a monthly basis for every school in the district, as well as any buildings whose energy usage falls under the district’s fiscal budget. This data collection and analysis is being performed using a tracking software called Massachusetts Energy Insight (MEI) that allows us to access all billing information, cost, and energy use for electricity, gas, and oil. This includes an analysis of all the energy we use in our schools related to lighting, appliances, heating, cooling, and anything else that requires energy. Graphical and tabular data output is critical to understanding and analyzing energy costs and usage, and MEI provides these visual tools for us, as well.

Energy efficiency practices for our schools include designing and implementing sustainable energy protocols unique to each school building, and by asking building occupants to participate in the following simple actions: unplugging electrical devices at the end of the day, putting all computers to sleep and turning them off at night, turning off lights when a room is not in use, lowering the thermostat, leaving lights off if southern exposure or natural light sources are available, turning off faucets all the way, and encouraging green transportation when commuting to school.

We have completed and continue to implement several energy-savings projects. Click here to see examples of these projects implemented at Cambridge Public Schools.

Potential renewable energy projects for our schools include installing more solar panels, green roofs, additional gray water systems, geothermal heating/cooling options, partnering with local wind farms for clean energy, and using biomass alternatives for fuel sources. All of these components will require further research, analysis, and funding.

"Energy-Efficiency and Renewable Energy Projects"
The Office for Sustainability is committed to lowering the school district’s carbon footprint and saving money by implementing energy-efficiency and renewable energy projects. Since the hiring of the Sustainability Manager in 2010 the school department has had a banner two years completing numerous energy-savings projects and cutting costs and energy use. The Sustainability Manager analyzes each school’s energy data on a regular basis, and works in partnership with the Department of Public Works, Nstar, and Prism Energy to prioritize building projects based on greatest energy use. Click here to see a chart of all energy projects completed since 2010.